I was wondering if you or any of your followers knew the rules for getting your haircut (or nails done, etc) at a salon?  For years, I paid a friend of the family to cut my hair, when needed, but occasionally I want to go to a salon but I have no idea what the rules are.  

I know you tip, but how much?  I don’t think you’re supposed to tip the owner (one time I went and tried to tip him, and I got the sense that I had done something wrong) but I am not sure.  What is the process for tipping?

Is it rude to not engage is smalltalk with the hairdresser while they are cutting your hair?  Is it okay to stay quiet if they don’t say anything?  What are appropriate topics?  

I’m unsure about a lot about this, and probably have more questions I can’t think of right now.  

realsocialskills answered:

I actually have no idea; it’s been years since I’ve managed to get a haircut.

But I bet some of y’all know. Anyone want to take this one?

acertaininefficiency said:

Back when I had a regular hairdresser, in the mid-to-late 00’s, the rules I worked out seemed to go like this:

  • Tip your hairdresser specifically, 10-15%. Usually I would just find my hairdresser up front when we were done and I was ready to leave and hand her the cash. If I couldn’t find her, I would ask someone up front to give it to her for me and hand it to them.
  • It’s a little odd not to respond when your hairdresser attempts smalltalk, but if you can work out appropriate light responses to common kinds of smalltalk, usually you don’t have to alter your script all that much.
  • It’s fine to stay quiet if they don’t say anything.
  • The kind of smalltalk you’d engage in with coworkers, or with a sales clerk, is generally appropriate. If there’s anything coming up in either of your lives that you’re excited about, like a vacation, or starting school or a new job, that’s a good topic. Complaining briefly about common small problems like finding hair products that work for you is also good, especially if you suspect the hairdresser may share your problem and be able to commiserate.
  • If you see the same person regularly, more personal topics may also become appropriate, like answering questions about how you feel about your hair and why you like it cut the way you do. Maybe don’t wax poetic about it, that could get a little weird, but short simple answers are good.